Dev Defends Valve From Conflict-of-Interest Criticism

Illustration for article titled Dev Defends Valve From Conflict-of-Interest Criticism

Ostensibly the kind of small games studio that Valve exploits, according to the Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford's controversial remarks last week, Tripwire Interactive told Gamasutra that it wouldn't exist without Valve's muscular presence in the PC sector.


Unlike "terrible" proposals that the Tripwire president John Gibson received in shopping Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 to publishers, Valve's offer was so straightforward it surprised even Tripwire's lawyer. "Valve's contract was the first one we had seen that didn't have any land mines in it," Gibson said, referring to fine print that can come back to bite an unsuspecting studio later.


Gibson offered his defense of Valve following comments by Pitchford that Valve's interest in both developing video games and distributing them via Steam constituted a conflict of interest. While Gibson acknowledges such appearances, he described Valve's position as more that "Our game is good, and so is yours, so let's both make some money together.

"I can say with certainty that if it weren't for Steam, there would be no Tripwire Interactive right now," Gibson said. "Ask the Tripwire Interactive employees if they feel exploited, as they move into their new offices paid for by the money the company has made on Steam. Or me, as I drive away from the company that was built from the royalties we made on Steam, in my sports car paid for by the royalties we make on Steam, to the home that I pay for with the royalties we make on Steam."

Opinion: Tripwire, Steam, And How We're Not Getting Exploited [Gamasutra via Game Politics]

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I fully agree with the statement about Tripwire not existing if it weren't for Valve. Valve is an amazing resource for indie developers. But that was Gearbox's ENTIRE POINT. Valve is a boon for the indie developer, and Valve becomes a mega-conglomerate through that process.

Gearbox's point wasn't that Valve had underhanded business practices, but rather that it was a company in danger of becoming too big, too fast, and controlling the market (and it arguably already DOES control the digital market). Monopolization like this is extremely dangerous.

Nobody will refute how amazing Valve is for the indie developer. It IS a great service. But I think Gearbox was suggesting that somebody needed to keep Valve in check so that they never become too big headed.